Whoever said that variety is the spice of life certainly knew what they were talking about! There’s no better place to experience this truth than in the world of doughnuts. With doughnuts in dozens of different delicious shapes and flavors, exploring the delectable diversity is a gastronomic delight! Read on to learn about the captivating culture of global doughnuts.
1. Exploring the Origins of Doughnuts
Today, doughnuts of all shapes, sizes and flavours can be found in bakeries and other sweet shops all around the world. But the origins of this age-old treat are not so clear. It remains one of the greatest culinary mysteries, as nearly every country in the world claims to have invented the delectable snack! Here we explore the diverse histories behind this scrumptious pastry:
- France: The French have many competing versions of the doughnut’s origin story. The most popular claims it began in the 17th century when a pastry-loving French noblewoman, Marie Antonia, coined the phrase “petits-beignets”, or “little doughnuts”.
- England: The first documentation of doughnut making dates back to 1803 in England. At that time, it was called a “dough-nut”, and it was made from a combination of flour, yeast, and milk.
- Germany: The German version of the doughnut is said to have originated in the late 1700s, with the invention of the Berliner Pfannkuchen. The pastry was made from a yeast-based dough and served with sweet fillings like fruit preserves or custard.
Despite their different origins, many countries use similar ingredients and recipes to make their doughnuts. The dough is typically made from a combination of flour, water, sugar, yeast, milk, and butter. The dough is then deep-fried in oil or lard, and can be either round, ring-shaped, or filled with a variety of sweet fillings or toppings.
Over the years, doughnuts have become a much-loved sweet treat in all corners of the world. From Japan’s famous taiyaki to the Bavarian-style krapfen in Germany, each variation adds something unique to a classic pastry. Whether you prefer traditional glazed or the more inventive red velvet variety, you’re sure to find the perfect doughnut for you!
2. Creative Doughnuts From Around the Globe
Doughnuts may not have been born with global roots – they began in Europe and North America - but cultures around the world have embraced them as their own, creating a truly delightful diversity in their interpretation. From classic to quirky, here are just a few types of doughnuts you can find around the globe.
- Czech Oliebollen are deep-fried dough balls coated with sugar, and sometimes flavored with raisins.
- Portuguese Malasadas are spongy bombs of deep-fried yeast dough, just like our American traditional doughnuts.
- In the Ukraine, pampushky are rings of sweet dough topped with garlic and dill butter and poppy seeds.
- In Japan, you can find Imagawa-yaki, mini-pancakes topped with sweet bean paste and a dollop of cream.
- The Chinese have their own version of doughnuts, called “Youtiao”, which is a crispy, deep-fried churro-like stick.
- South Korea has bungeoppang, fish-shaped treats with a red bean cream filling.
Fruity & Savory:
- India’s Balushahi is a ring-shaped doughnut fried in ghee and soaked in syrup.
- Egypt’s Qatayef is a sweet, pancake-like doughnut filled with cinnamon curd or cream and topped with orange blossom syrup.
- In Ethiopia, you can find ambasha, a sweet raisin or cheese-filled dough deep-fried in spiced vegetable oil.
Whether you’re looking for an old-fashioned classic or wanting to try something totally new and creative, doughnuts of the world have something to please every palate. So why not grab a gooey, sugary (or savory) bite and take a tour of the world through these delightful delights?
3. Savoring Sweet and Savory Doughnuts
Doughnuts continue to delight our sweet tooth cravings, but with the overwhelming variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors, they certainly make for a thought-provoking experience. When trying to find the best doughnuts in the world, it can often feel daunting – but not when you have a helpful guide! This post will take you on a world tour of all the sweet and savory doughnuts available:
- England – English doughnuts are never seen without a generous coating of sugar, and the traditional filled version is usually packed with jam. In fact, some of the most popular flavours are jam-filled and raspberry-filled.
- America – Americans are familiar with a variety of doughnuts, from light and fluffy glazed to more decadent toppings like Cookies & Cream and Cotton Candy. But the classic American doughnut is the glazed, which is usually made with enriched flour, butter, and egg.
- France – French doughnuts can range from filled, ring-shaped, airy, or even croissant-style. But the ultimate combination of sweet and savory is the French-style cruller. It’s an egg-based, deep-fried doughnut, topped with honey and puffed rice for a fanciful twist.
- India – Indian doughnuts are often savory, with a selection of flavors like onion, garlic, and chilli. The most popular of them all is Gulab Jamun – balls of deep-fried dough made out of milk solids and soaked in a sweet syrup.
- China – Chinese doughnuts have an irresistible crunch and are often served with the beloved red bean paste or matcha, which both add a sweet, nutty flavour. Stirring-fried doughnuts are are also common, and you can usually find them stuffed with tasty fillings like peanuts and pork.
- Brazil – Brazilian doughnuts are a unique creation, known as Coxinhas, which are prepared with a dough called massa de mandioca. The small croquettes are usually filled with shredded chicken, seasoned with herbs and spices like cumin and paprika.
- Japan – Japanese doughnuts come in a range of styles, from light and airy to doughy and fluffy. Traditional mochi-style doughnuts are very popular, and tend to come in savory flavors like squid ink or unagi. Also, shaped doughnuts are popular in Japan, with popular shapes ranging from tigers to hearts.
Whether you like your doughnuts filled with sweet or savory fillings, or shaped and molded into something truly unique, there’s something for everyone. So the next time you’re looking for a delicious treat, you do not need to limit yourself to the classic version – take a trip around the world and savor the delightful diversity that doughnuts have to offer!
4. Baking Delicious Doughnuts at Home
- America: Enjoy America’s favorite doughnuts, from classic glazed to signature flavors like Boston Cream and Apple Fritter. United States doughnuts tend to be fairly sweet and incorporate generous amounts of sugar, butter, and flavorings.
- Czech Republic: The trdelník is a classic snack from the Czech Republic, more properly known as a “Cylinder Cake”. Flaky dough is coiled around a wooden stick, then covered with sugar and spices before being grilled over an open flame.
- Middle East: An echat luqaymat is a Middle Eastern doughnut made from a fragrant combination of flour, cardamom, mastic oil, and sugar. The dough is rolled into small balls then deep fried until golden in color, and can be served plain or with date syrup.
- India: Gulab jamun is a doughnut classic in India. A dough made from milk powder and all-purpose flour is deep fried and then served in a warm cardamom-scented syrup. In some areas, an additional layer of cream or a soft cheese is added before dipping them in syrup.
- England: The jam-filled doughnuts of the United Kingdom are known as “jelly doughnuts” or “Jammy Dodgers”. The delicious treats are often made with a sweet and tasty raspberry jam, though other options can often be found. They are usually served warm with a cup of tea.
For those with a sweet tooth, doughnuts from around the world offer a wide range of flavors and textures. From the crispy Russian ponchiki to the fluffy and sweet American treats, doughnuts provide a delightful treat for any occasion. For an added twist, try adding a unique twist with some international flavors – from India, the Czech Republic, and the Middle East.
And if you’re looking for a delicious way to make doughnuts at home, you’re in luck. Baking delicious doughnuts from scratch is easier than you might think, with ingredients like all-purpose flour, eggs, milk, sugar, and butter. You can also add in optional ingredients like nutmeg, cinnamon, or fruit fillings. Whether you choose a jam-filled classic or an exotic international flavor, you’ll be able to tantalize your taste buds with a delicious homemade doughnut.
5. How to Enjoy Doughnuts Responsibly
At their most basic, doughnuts are simply deep-fried circles of pastry. But they come in so many delicious varieties that it’s simplistic to describe them as merely “dough and holes.” Ask anyone with a doughnut habit which ones they crave most and you will often find that the answer depends on the local culture. Every hometown has its own regional specialty that can be found nowhere else!
The United States
The United States celebrates doughnuts in their many forms. From the classic glazed doughnut to the more iconic Long John of the Midwest, American doughnuts are made in shapes, sizes, and flavors for every palate. The beloved jelly-filled doughnut, for instance, has been an American favorite since the 1950s. Be sure to try the classic cinnamon sugar or the pollutant-topped apple fritter at least once a year!
In Canada, doughnuts have a special place in the national psyche. Filled with apples or topped with sweet icing, Canadian doughnuts come in all shapes and sizes. For a truly regional flavor, try one of the country’s favorites: the “old-fashioned” chocolate-glazed cake doughnut. Or go classic with the traditional maple bar, which gets its signature sweetness from real maple syrup.
Australian doughnuts are all about the glaze. From the famous lamington doughnut to the familiar honeycomb crunch, these delectable fried treats put the “O” in doughnut-as-dessert. For something more savory, opt for the Nutella-filled doughnut, which provides a perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors. Or, for a truly unique experience, why not try the popular salted caramel and popcorn doughnut?
African doughnuts are typically filled with dates or other dried fruit, nuts, and spices. The flavors and textures of these treats vary widely by region, allowing travelers to explore the unique flavors of the continent one doughnut at a time. Invisit North Africa for delicately spiced sfenj doughnuts, or try Kenya’s famous mandazi: a traditional honey-dipped doughnut that is sprinkled with coconut.
South American doughnuts usually revolve around sweet fried cakes. Bolivia is known for its alfajor doughnut, a sweet cake-like pastry filled with dulce de leche. In Argentina, try the classic panqueque, a doughnut-shaped cake filled with marmalade and dusted with powered sugar. And don’t forget to sample the churros of Colombia, Mexico, and Spain: The perfect combination of cinnamon sugar and flaky pastry.
Don’t forget to enjoy your doughnuts with moderation, however! Though delicious, these decadent treats are best enjoyed in small doses and limited to special occasions.
6. The Cultural Significance of Doughnuts
Doughnuts, or donuts, are a beloved pastry worldwide! The origin of the doughnut is shrouded in mystery, but various cultures have taken the concept and adapted it to create delicious treats. Doughnuts come in many shapes, sizes, and textures and are known for their delightfully diverse flavors. Here we explore the cultural significance of these delicious treats.
1. The Doughnut of North America
The quintessential American doughnut is the yeasted raised doughnut. This type of doughnut is pillowy and soft, with the characteristic raised ridges and a light glaze. The most popular version is the classic “glazed” doughnut, but many regional variations, such as cake and Boston cream, are widely available. American-style doughnuts also appear in all traditional festive occasions, from weddings to birthdays.
2. Dutch Oliebollen and Olykoeks
In the Netherlands, oliebollen and olykoeks are popular winter treats. Oliebollen, or oil balls, are more like dumplings than doughnuts. Dough is mixed with dried fruit, raisins, and sometimes apples and formed into a ball before being deep-fried in oil. Olykoeks, or oil cakes, are simply balls of dough fried in oil and usually sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are often served during holidays such as New Year’s Eve and Sinterklaas.
3. The Donut of Japan
Japan’s take on the doughnut is slightly different from the American version. Airier and lighter, these doughnuts have a higher ratio of egg and butter than their Western counterparts. They come in both traditional and unique flavors such as matcha or custard cream. Called dorayaki or an-dō-nu, these doughnuts are popular both as a celebration staple and an everyday treat!
4. The Doughy Donut of Germany
The German pfannkuchen, or doughnut, is made from a creamy dough instead of a yeasted one and is filled with various creams. The cake-like doughnuts are then either deep-fried or baked until golden brown before they are sprinkled with icing sugar. These doughnuts are a traditional accompaniment to winter festivities such as Christmas markets and Easter celebrations.
5. Dunkin’ Around the World
Doughnuts are sold everywhere from roadside food trucks to international chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts has become an iconic brand recognizable in almost every country. Despite the name, the chain serves a variety of baked goods, not just doughnuts. The menu has been tailored to better suit the tastes of different cultures in different countries, while still providing those unmistakable doughnut flavors that have become so iconic.
6. Doughnuts; A Sweet Symbol of Cultural Diversity
Doughnuts are more than just a delicious treat. This sweet treat has been around for centuries and has been adapted and embraced by cultures around the world. Explore regional versions of this ever-popular pastry to discover the culture behind it, and appreciate its unique diversity!
From America’s beloved glazed to Thailand’s unique fried-rice doughnut, the world of doughnuts is a surprisingly vast and delicious landscape. A box of these delightful treats can brighten any day, and now that you know a bit more about the wonderful diversity of doughnuts, it’s time to go out and explore! Bon Appétit!